Monday, September 20, 2010

Ghost Hunting in Charleston

Well, I finally got to go ghost hunting in Charleston this weekend. It was a lot of fun. Part of the fun (in fact most of it) was just getting to go with my friends to Charleston again after all this time. It is a beautiful city. There are so many restaurants, shops, and interesting historical sights, that it would be impossible to see everything in just one day. It keeps you wanting to come back for more. Still, we did discover two new places that we will definitely need to revisit next time.

First of all, to get this out of the way, as usual we didn't find any ghosts. That's why there's no picture in this particular post. We didn't even do very much ghost hunting. At the end of the day we went on a "ghost tour" that was featuring some of Charleston's most famous haunted graveyards. Our tour guide let us in and explained what some of the symbols on the graves meant and told us a few famous Charleston ghost stories. She was an ex-school teacher, and it showed in the way she emphasized certain words, etc. It gave me a warm fuzzy, making me remember when story tellers would come to tell folktales at my elementary school. Anyway, we heard the story of the Fisher couple, some murderers who preyed on travelers new to Charleston in the early 1800's, the sad story of a girl sealed into a tomb prematurely, and a few other stories of premature burial. We also saw a picture taken in one of the cemeteries we couldn't tour of an apparition kneeling at her own tomb. The last stop was Philadelphia Ally, and I have to admit, the place gives you a very creepy feeling. Here we were told the story of "The Whistling Doctor."

We thought we caught something in a picture taken in Philadelphia Ally (the "Dueling Ally"). We zoomed in on a spot in the picture that looked like half of a face, a green skeleton grinning in the top corner. We got all excited, but then as we looked at the other pictures, we realized it was just a clump of green leaves that just happened to be clustered together in such a way that it looked like a face in that particular picture. Since the green spot was in the same place in all of the pictures and didn't look like anything in any of the others, it had to be leaves. Bummer.

Still, it was a very fun trip. We spent the first part of the day walking towards the Battery. We didn't actually go there, but we walked along a nice shaded trail in a park that overlooked the Harbor. We saw what appeared to be a boating class practicing in the harbor and I dubbed the term "Sailboat Jousting" because it seemed that the boats were actually trying to hit each other. We walked around for a while, reading monuments, looking at houses (there were so many for sale, it made me really wish I was rich enough to buy one), and taking in the sights. Then, we headed back towards the main drag and decided to eat in a restaurant/pub/museum (I kid you not, it was also a museum) called "The Buccaneer." We have to go there again.

The Buccaneer is dedicated to the early days of piracy. The floor was stone/cement, the tables look like something in a boat, and there are relics and pirate themed pictures hanging everywhere. The only thing that wasn't pirate themed was the music (which sadly was nineties pop at the time), but still, it was awesome. The food was good, the drinks were good, and the atmosphere made me wish it was "Talk Like a Pirate Day." We just missed it too, because "Talk Like a Pirate Day" would be Sunday, the next day. I won't lie, we did a little talking like a pirate anyway.

After that was over, we dropped by the parking lot to get my purse, and there was a very sudden and very bad rainstorm. So, we hung around in the parking lot and talked. It was kind of a nice break from walking around and gave us a chance to unwind a little and kill a little time before the ghost tour. Plus, thankfully the rain dropped the temperature significantly so we finally got to cool off.

When it stopped raining we made an appearance at the tour office so that they would know were were coming and then went to an old-timey looking general store nearby to wait. I don't remember the name, but the theme there was moonpies. There were moonpies everywhere, but that wasn't the best part. In the center of the store was an ice cream/malt shop sort of area and it was here that I discovered "Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream." Best discovery ever. That had to have been some of the best ice cream I've ever had, so next time we go we have to drop by there again.

After that was the tour, which I already mentioned. It was fun too. I didn't expect to see any ghosts on the tour, but by the time it was over we were all too exhausted to do anymore ghost hunting. We decided to go home and review the pictures. While we were taking a few of our other friends home, one of our friends told us some real ghost stories that happened in his family, and let me tell you, they were far more frightening than the ones that the tour guide told us. It made me kind of happy we were going home. I'm reasonably certain that my current house isn't haunted. Getting home safe and sound is part of the fun of ghost hunting. It's an adventure that you return home from feeling more appreciative of your non-haunted house.

Anyway, we'll have to go back to Charleston again sometime soon. I think next time we'll do a bit more ghost hunting, but we'll have to at least revisit "The Buccaneer" and that General Store. Next time, I would also like to browse some of the antique stores and pay more attention to main street. But, we'll save that for later. In the meantime, possibly in a few months, we're thinking of inspecting a different sort of ghost tour. In Savannah, they have a "Haunted Pubs" tour. Sounds like a plan for the near future.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Well, it's been a little while since I've written on my blog. Remember how I said, I'll have the comic done by the end of the week, barring a family emergency? Well, sadly there was a tragic family emergency recently. My Uncle died of cancer. The funeral was this last weekend, and it has made me pretty depressed. He was a good man and loved his family. He's been struggling with cancer for about two years now, but it continued to spread. He's endured painful chemotherapy, discouraging test results, and having to cope with knowing there wasn't anything more he could do. I can't imagine... I'm trying to be here for my family and be supportive of them. Seeing what they're going through has given me a new perspective on things and how I need to live my own life.

For one thing, the web comic was starting to stress me out. It was supposed to be a fun and new way for me to gain an internet presence, not something that was just another deadline. I've found myself frustrated with it, to the point I'm thinking "stupid web comic" and grumbling irritably when I think about working on it. That wasn't how it was supposed to be. Life is too short for me to be stressing myself out over something so trivial. So, I'm going to do it at my own pace and it'll be done when it is done. I already have an idea for another comic, so I'll might even put this first one down to work on that one if I continue to be annoyed with it. I'm my own boss and I need to stop being so darn hard on myself.

Also, I really need to be more spiritual. Joel and I are starting to do a bible study on Wednesday evenings in addition to going to church. I'm aware that I don't pray enough and that I don't trust in God enough. I need to let go and try to put my life in his guiding hands. I think if I can do that, I'll realize that things will always going as they should be, good or bad, and I'll be a lot less uptight and worried. Worrying doesn't do any good. I worry too much about writer's block, and the work I do in general. I need to stop worrying.

Finally, I think pretty soon my life is going to change quite a bit. Joel and I are talking seriously about having a baby. We're thinking it might even happen next year. If so, I need to focus on trying to get an agent for at least one of my completed books at the end of this year, so I can focus on planning for a baby next year. I'll need to do lots of reading... I still plan to write in my spare time, but in the future, I'm well aware that I won't have very much time for writing. Still, it will be worth it. Again, this is another reason why the web comic is a little less important than I first thought. I can still write, but Jesus and my family always have to come first.

As I've mentioned, I've been struggling with bad writer's block lately. I've been playing a good bit of World of Warcraft and then have been irritated at myself for doing it, as though maybe if I sat in front of the computer and "tried to write" it would just happen. I mentioned this to Joel and he was quick to point out that the past few months, particularly the past few weeks were very busy and different than usual for me. I was working hard to turn in my WoW story, planning several detailed sessions for my Grimm game (including drawing up maps for it), working on the web comic, and then this happened with my Uncle. While sometimes depression make me write well, usually it has a way of temporarily sapping my creativity. Deep down, I know that I can't force myself to write. You can't pump anymore water when the well runs dry. When my ideas come, I'll write them, but until then, I'm going to try to relax, destress, and cheer up. Wish me luck. I think I might need it.